Posted on 04/11/2013 12:00am
Perhaps you saw him on Broadway in Wicked where he's spent the past five years playing the Wizard, or prior to that as the lovable Mr. Cellophane in the long running Broadway show Chicago opposite stars such as Melanie Griffith and Brooke Shields. Celebrating his 43rd year as a professional actor, PJ Benjamin will now be appearing at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn's Professional Theatre as Ralph Bellini, the charming lovestruck star of the heartwarming romantic comedy The Last Romance. Other Broadway shows in Mr. Benjamin's history include: Pippin; Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies; the Tony Award winning play Torch Song Trilogy; Charlie in the musical Charlie and Algernon (Los Angeles critics award), The Pajama Game directed by George Abbott; Wind in the Willows; Ain't Broadway Grand and Sarava. He may also be familiar to younger audiences as the voice of Sergeant Dodo Bird in the animated film, Ice Age.
Playing the target of his amorous attention will be Broadway veteran Louisa Flaningam as Carol Reynolds. Public Theatre audiences may remember Louisa from her delightful work several years ago in TPT's record-breaking comedy Southern Comforts. In her 40 plus years "on the boards", she's played a variety of roles from Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath to Fastrada in Bob Fosse's Pippin (National Tour). On Broadway, she was Cleo in the 1979 revival of The Most Happy Fella, also telecast on PBS; and General Cartwright in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls. She also appeared as Aunt March in the National Tour of Little Women, as Meg in Damn Yankees with Tony Randall, in Pal Joey with Lena Horne; and in I Love My Wife with The Smothers Brothers. Her favorite role however, is that of Mrs. PJ Benjamin.
This talented real life couple is sure to set off sparks with their delightful chemistry in The Last Romance. Written by the author of Over the River and Through the Woods and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, The Last Romance is a charming comedy about an elderly widower who spies a lovely lady in a dog park and leaps head first into a second chance at love. This delightful play puts teenage-style crushes in the hearts of senior citizens and takes a thoughtful, honest look at the transformative power of love. Don't miss this heartwarming comedy about a man, a woman and the little dog who brought them together.
The Last Romance is playing at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn's Professional Theatre, May 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12.
For tickets call 782-3200 or visit www.thepublictheatre.org for more information.